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Indicators of Human Trafficking

How Might Local Governments See Indicators of Human Trafficking Through Traveling Sales Crews?

This handout provides basic information about the dynamics and indicators of labor trafficking through traveling sales crews.  Post-natural disaster clean-up crews operate in a similar way.


Human Trafficking of Minors and Young Adults: What Local Governments Need to Know

Public Management Bulletin #18

This bulletin explores the unique opportunities that local governments have to prevent, identify, and/or intervene is the sex and labor trafficking of youth in our communities.


Public Management Bulletin #14

Ten Questions about Local Governments: A Primer for Anti–Human Trafficking Advocates

Similar to most U.S. citizens, community advocates working to prevent or respond to human trafficking are likely to be mis- or uninformed about governmental functions, responsibilities, and lines of authority. That is understandable, given how complex and intertwined local, state, and federal programs and services can be.

Law enforcement agencies and departments of social services are two governmental departments likely to be involved in direct intervention efforts with victims of trafficking. People in other departments can play key roles as well, not only in identifying potential indicators of trafficking or in contributing services that enable the long-term recovery of victims, but also in informing or supporting change efforts.

The purpose of this publication is to provide anti–human trafficking advocates basic guidance in navigating city and county governments. Few answers would apply to all jurisdictions about who to contact with questions, or how processes work. Instead, this publication provides generic answers to beginning inquiries to help community advocates better understand government roles, functions, or procedures.


Public Management Bulletin #17

Property Tax Officials Can Help Recognize Human-Trafficking Indicators

Property tax officials, like many other local government staff in different roles, have professional reasons to visit homes, businesses, and construction sites every day. Their work positions them to see indicators of sex and labor trafficking in the communities they serve. This article will address what human trafficking is, what it looks like in our communities, how property tax officials can recognize the indicators of human trafficking, and how they should respond if they see those indicators.

It may be rare to see indicators of human trafficking, but the crime is serious enough to warrant building awareness among local government staff. The inspiration for this article came from a county tax-office appraiser who attended a training session about human trafficking and described inspecting a large home that had a basement filled with bunk beds. The beds did not appear to be for the benefit of visiting grandchildren.



Public Management Bulletin #15

Exploring the Intersections between Local Governments and Human Trafficking: The Local Government Focus Group Project


This completes a series of three Public Management Bulletins (PMB) by Margaret F. Henderson addressing the increasingly prevalent problem of human trafficking in North Carolina. PMB No. 12 introduces the issue and provides global as well as local context for its growth, while PMB No. 14 explains how government works at the local, state, and national levels and offers advice to community advocates on how to seek help from local government officials in addressing the issue. This bulletin focuses on the business models (or strategies) traffickers use to manage their human trafficking enterprises and reports on focus group discussions with local government officials to determine how greater awareness of these models and their various signs within the community might be incorporated into their daily work.


Public Management Bulletin #16

The Basic Information about Human Trafficking

Human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion by one person to compel another person to perform a profitable labor or sex act. Victims can be adults or children, foreign or domestic born. The trafficking can involve purely labor, purely commercial sex, or a blend of both.

To employ a common description, human trafficking is something that often is “hidden in plain sight” in our communities. Whereas Hollywood regularly employs imagery of physical restraints and kidnapping, the reality is that the indicators of trafficking can be much more subtle and situational. Appendix A shares some indicators that might be visible to outsiders. Given that trafficking takes many different forms, the indicators will vary depending on the situations and people involved.